Certificate in Natural Resources Law

Beginning with the 2016 graduating class, a student will receive a Certificate in Natural Resources Law with a corresponding notation in the student’s permanent academic record if he or she meets the following criteria:

1. Successfully completes 12 hours of credit in specified natural resources classes and programs.

  • (a) Up to three of the required 12 hours may be fulfilled by (a) earning credit for work with the Natural Resources Law Journal (2 hours), (b) earning credit for participation on a qualifying moot court team (2 hours)1, (c) successfully completing a course through Virginia Tech’s Graduate School of Natural Resources that has been approved for credit as part of the Virginia Tech Certificate in Graduate Studies in Natural Resources (3 hours)2, (d) earning credit through work at a clinic overseen by ASL’s Natural Resources Law Program (1-3 hours)3, or (e) earning credit through Independent Study on an approved topic (2 hours).4
  • (b) At least 9 of the 12 hours must be earned by obtaining passing grades in approved natural resources classes.5
  • (c) The Natural Resources Law committee will have the authority to determine classes, programs, competitions and topics that qualify for credit, and to otherwise modify the credit requirements for achieving the Certificate.

2. Achieves at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average in the graded ASL courses that count towards the 12 qualifying credit hours.

3. Commencing in July 2016, students complete a publishable quality note in addition to the curricular writing requirements within the Certificate qualifying courses.

4. Meets all other requirements to graduate from ASL.

For more information please visit our Natural Resource Law Center.


1Qualifying moot court teams in the past have included ones that competed at the Pace National Environmental Law Competition and at the West Virginia National Energy Law Competition.

2At present, students can earn a certificate in Graduate Studies in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech by, among other criteria, successfully completing three approved courses through Virginia Tech’s Graduate School. ASL students in good standing who wish to participate in that program are automatically admitted at Virginia Tech. ASL will be seeking approval from Virginia Tech to automatically admit an ASL student to take only one course as part of the ASL NR Certificate program. A class taken through Virginia Tech would not otherwise count towards the ASL graduation requirements.

3Students can earn credit toward the certificate by (a) working in the NRLC Clinic or (b) participating in a live client clinic in connection with their enrollment in a natural resources course. Credit earned through a live client clinic must be approved by the externship director and faculty member responsible for teaching the related natural resource course in order for the student to earn academic credit toward the certificate.

4Criteria for approved Independent Studies credit are already part of the Academic Standards. Students would have to meet all of those standards in addition to obtaining approval of the Natural Resources Law committee for the proposed topic.

5Qualifying courses in the ASL academic catalog are: Introduction to Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Sustainable Energy Law, Real Estate Transactions, Coal & Hard Mineral Law, Environmental ADR, Oil & Gas Law, Law of Renewables, Water Law, Regulation of Energy Markets, and Utilities, Mineral Title Search & Examination, Administrative Law, Agricultural Law, Environmental Science for Lawyers, Energy Law and Policy, Practice Before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Energy, Economics, and the Environment. In addition, one section of Appellate Advocacy may be built around a problem in an area related to natural resources law, environmental law or energy law. Such a section will be designated “AppAd-NR,” and it will be a qualifying course for purposes of meeting the NRL Certificate requirements.